ROXBURY — The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has conditionally approved Central Maine Power's proposed $14 million upgrade of transmission lines to handle electricity from incoming wind farms.
That's what Roxbury town officials and townspeople at Tuesday night's selectmen meeting learned.
Selectman Vice Chairman Tim Derouche read parts of the 24-page document into public record while trying to understand it.
He said CMP proposes to reconstruct eight miles of its transmission line from Roxbury to Rumford to provide transmission service to the 55-megawatt Record Hill Wind Project that was approved by the department on Aug. 20, 2009.
The existing transmission line, from the Rumford substation on Route 2 to the Frye substation on Route 120 in Roxbury, has a capacity of 34.5 kilovolts, whereas the reconstructed line will have a capacity for 115 kilovolts.
Additionally, the existing 100-foot right of way for the power lines will be expanded by 50 feet. The reconstructed line will be installed beside the current transmission line, which will then be removed after the new line is energized, the document states.
“This is to allow continuous electrical service to the Andover and Rangeley areas, which are served by the Frye substation,” the document states.
The CMP project also proposes to build a new substation at the Roxbury end of the reconstructed transmission line. It will be 250 feet by 250 feet within its fence line and located adjacent to a proposed operations building and collector substation of the Record Hill Wind Project.
Additionally, a new 250-foot-wide crossover line corridor will extend from the reconstructed section to the proposed Roxbury substation.
The document also states that CMP proposed to fill 200 square feet of wetland and to convert 36,000 square feet of forested wetland to scrub-shrub and/or emergent wetland to allow for the construction and maintenance of the transmission line.
The conversion impacts include:
— Clearing 7,248 square feet of forested wetland within 250 feet of a significant vernal pool.
— Clearing an additional 13,404 square feet of forested upland buffer area within 250 feet of the same vernal pool, for a total of 20,652 square feet of clearing within the critical terrestrial habitat of the vernal pool, while not directly impacting it.
Among the conditions of approval, CMP must follow provisions of a Vegetative Management Plan, provide final evidence of arrangements to finance the project, and ensure that its actions do not cause noticeable soil erosion.
The document also states that while CMP will finance the project initially, the project cost will ultimately be paid by Independence Wind, the developers of the Record Hill Wind Project.
Selectmen took no action on the document, which is available at the town office.